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CBD 101: CBD as an Antipsychotic

Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming a treatment option for multiple health ailments thanks to its healing abilities. CBD as an antipsychotic is one of the many apparent health benefits from cannabidiol.

The newest results of research now show that soon doctors can prescribe CBD products to manage psychological issues like psychosis and possibly schizophrenia. 

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind which gives rise to trouble differentiating what is real and what is not (an illusion). In other words, it is an impaired relationship with reality. It is often characterized by either delusions or hallucinations.

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Hallucinations are sensory perceptions which occur in the absence of external stimulus that have the same qualities as a real-life perception. These may be audio or visual hallucinations. The person suffering from hallucinations sees, feels, smells, and hears things that do not exist.

Delusions are thoughts of false beliefs or impressions that a person has which are opposite to actual proof. There are paranoid delusions, somatic delusions, and grandiose delusions. Paranoia delusions make one think they’re being followed even when they’re not. 

Somatic delusions occur when one believes they are suffering from a terminal illness even though they are in perfect health. Grandiose delusions cause a highly overemphasized sense of self-importance.

In cases where people struggle with psychosis, they may experience social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, loss of motivation, and self-harm urges. 

Causes

There is no single cause of psychosis, but researchers found some prevalent causes: 

  • Illnesses and injuries: Neurological diseases and brain illnesses are causes of psychosis. Hypoglycemia, which is an abnormally low level of glucose or sugar in the blood, in extreme cases can cause hallucinations.
  • Drugs: Some triggers of psychosis are prescription medications, alcohol abuse, and potent drugs.
  • Psychological issues: This includes lack of sleep or insomnia, severe depression, anxiety or stress. This can lead to feelings of sadness and irritation. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also causes of psychosis.
  • Emotional and mental trauma: This can be caused by war experiences, the death of loved ones, or sexual assault. The age at which the trauma occurred and the trauma type plays a crucial role in psychosis.
  • Genetics: A hereditary gene for psychosis is passed on to children, however, it does not mean that the gene will be dominant and cause psychosis.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

There are many ways to tell if you or others are experiencing psychotic episodes. There are different manifestations of early signs to symptoms of an ongoing episode, which we listed below.

  • Warning signs: Lack of self-care or hygiene, difficulty thinking clearly or in concentration, no emotions at all, harsher emotions than a situation needs, and drop in performance levels or grades.
  • Early signs: A person may stop taking care of his/herself, start hearing, seeing, or tasting things that others don’t, they are not able to pay attention to things, and they start pulling away from friends and family.
  • Symptoms of an ongoing psychotic episode: Hearing strange voices when there is no one present, small actions, events or comments which take on a bigger meaning, seeing things that are not there, believing you have godlike or superhero powers. Other symptoms include rapid and constant speech, sudden loss in the line of thought leading to a sudden break in the conversation, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression.

Does CBD Affect the Symptoms of Psychosis?

Despite early beliefs about the potency of CBD and medical marijuana in general, further research has displayed that CBD can decrease the psychotic symptoms whether it is drug-induced psychosis or cannabis-induced psychosis. It also has the potential of reducing the chances of psychosis occurrence in cannabis-using persons.

The way antipsychotics work is by aiming for the release of neurotransmitters present in the brain such as serotonin, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and dopamine. It is a proposed hypothesis that an increased level of dopamine in the brain is likely to cause the occurrence of psychotic symptoms.

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Antipsychotics bind to dopamine receptors in the brain and result in a reduction in the production level of dopamine. In some cases of psychotic patients, doctors consider dopamine production as a relatively normal thing.

After research used both CBD and placebo treatments, a thorough evaluation of the results shows that patients who received CBD treatment had greater brain activation than placebo patients.

CBD can also partially balance all alterations to areas of the brain which have been damaged by the development of psychosis.

Can it Treat Schizophrenia?

CBD as an antipsychotic has the potential to treat schizophrenia in the same way that antipsychotic treatments work, but with a lesser number of side effects. 

Antipsychotics have the potential of causing devastating and, oftentimes, permanent damage or disorders in terms of movement. They reduce the user’s motivation and pleasure levels and may lead to consequent weight gain. Additionally, it increases their chances of having diabetes.

People suffering from schizophrenia have symptoms of social withdrawal, blunting of pleasure, as well as lack of motivation. These symptoms were lesser in CBD-treated patients. It was also effective at increasing anandamide levels which in turn reduced the severity of the symptoms.

Latest Research on CBD as an Antipsychotic

The antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol has researchers thinking it is the ideal treatment for such patients. Of course, no single dose can manage the symptoms. Users need consistent usage in order to minimize symptoms and episodes.

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The most popular form of CBD ingestion is through CBD oils. A study on 83 patients proved that there were significantly higher improvements in CBD treated patients in comparison to those who received the placebo treatment.

The data gathered showed that within six (6) weeks of treatments alongside antipsychotic medication had significant effects not only on the positive psychotic symptoms but also on the impressions of illness severity and improvements had by the treating clinicians.

CBD as an Antipsychotic: Limitations and Risks

In as much as CBD has numerous positive effects, there remain some problems with CBD as an antipsychotic. Some of them, though not limited to these, are:

  • CBD usage does not affect mood disruption and affective flattening.
  • A CBD treatment alone is not a stand-alone treatment; patients can use it in conjunction with the traditional antipsychotic medications.
  • The level of effects given off by the CBD is directly related to the quantity ingested. However, doctors don’t recommend ingesting severely high quantities. 

Verdict

CBD is effective for situations that pertain to mental health like psychosis and all its related illnesses. It has few to no side effects and boosts essential levels of hormones or enzymes needed in the body.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD usage. You are to take CBD as dietary supplements, not as medication.

Before you start taking CBD for psychosis or other conditions, confirm that you can safely ingest CBD to prevent fatalities. Take note of all complaints stated by patients being treated with CBD and ensure that they are on the right track to a healthy recovery. With time and further proper research, people can use CBD as an affordable and safe method of treating these conditions.

Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.